Earlier this week, the Boy Scouts of America released information going back decades about sexual abuse allegations that were apparently routinely covered up. Information in the so-called “Ineligible Volunteer Files,” (also called the “Perversion Files” by some media outlets) spanned from 1965 to 1985, and affected scouts from towns all over the country – including an incident that apparently occurred in Wakefield in 1975. The information came out as part of a multimillion dollar lawsuit in Oregon against the Boy Scouts that then became a battle over whether the documents could be made public.
When a sexual abuse allegation came up back then, in many cases scout leaders would apparently try to handle the matter internally without involving the legal system, largely to shield the organization itself from embarassment and a damaged image.
The Los Angeles Times website has a database at this link that reportedly includes about 5,000 men and some women expelled from the scouts between 1947 and January, 2005 because of sexual abuse allegations. An accompanying map illustrates how this problem was spread through pretty much all regions of the country.
A PDF file from the Oregon law firm handling the lawsuit is attached to this article and provides an additional look at the Wakefield case, although the name of the alleged offender is not available. Many names and other details are blacked out of the documents. At least some first names and phone numbers do appear in the documents, as does the letterhead of the Minuteman Council of Boy Scouts of America, which covers much of the Boston area. A number of handwritten notes are also preserved on the documents, which have dates ranging from the mid '70s to the mid to late '80s.
A Boston Globe report said that of the 1,200 individuals appearing on the list, 45 were from Massachusetts.
For its part, the Boy Scouts of America released a lengthy statement laying out its own policies on protecting young people from predators and acknowledging its role in the debacle - while also stating that "the files are incomplete records of events that happened years ago."
"There have been instances where people misused their positions in Scouting to abuse children, and in certain cases, our response to these incidents and our efforts to protect youth were plainly insufficient, inappropriate, or wrong," said Wayne Perry, national president of the Boy Scouts of America. "Where those involved in Scouting failed to protect, or worse, inflicted harm on children, we extend our deepest and sincere apologies to victims and their families."